Mark doesn’t mention it often, however, he failed the 6th grade. He did not agree on taking summer school, so his parents decided upon a military school. Mark was not sure if this was the lesser of two evils but off he went.
His repeat of the 6th grade and being on the Headmasters List showed him that he could do the work. He would soon look for ways to avoid such recognition!
Between 6th and 12th grade he attended FUMA with the exception of his Sophomore year due to family commitments. He worked in the Supply Department and became Supply Sergeant. He and other cadets built and maintained the campus radio station WPET and were also on-air talent. In his Senior year, a disagreement with the Commandants Office allowed him to again enjoy being a Private with fewer responsibilities. Many cadets wondered where he went during parades as he found that being Infirmary Guard allowed him to read comic books while his fellow students toiled on the parade ground.
Whether it was the misguided idea that he was teaching the staff a lesson, or that he was too embarrassed to be a private and then get his rank back for graduation, he sold all of his uniforms, graduated and often looks back upon how stupid he was.
After graduation he worked a number of jobs, surprising himself in how he was able to take on new positions and excel. His range of jobs included laying wall-to-wall carpeting, construction, an electrician’s apprentice, testing satellite TV receivers, anti blue and black boxes for telephone companies, Morse Code receiver and other jobs. He also wrote inventory control software and appeared on television with Educational Television stations.
He also attended a number of community colleges but was never comfortable with the teaching/learning aspects of the classroom. As for electronics, radio, TV, and computers, he was self-taught.
In 1985 he was working for a small family-owned graphics business when he interviewed with Hewlett Packard. The Managers were impressed with his skills and hired him as a Second Shift System Manager where he had responsibility at first over 4 or 5 mainframes and later managed hundreds of computers in a room the size of a football field. He was to leave HP after 17 years during the corporate down-sizing.
He traveled to Hawaii 13 times, enjoying 2 weeks each trip two times a year. During this time he looked for a place to live in the islands. He eventually purchased a 9-acre macadamia nut farm in Captain Cook on the Big Island. He converted the farm to half orchard and half Kona Coffee. He began helping neighbors to sell their coffee online and continues to run many of their websites.
He raised a litter of AKC registered Labrador puppies and sold them as a part-time business.
He is still single and enjoys it saying that if anything, Fork Union showed him what to do and when to do it, and now he can do what he wants and when he wants (sort of the complete opposite). Still, his independence has shown up in his ability to change jobs and careers often while still being productive and enjoying a quiet life.